The symptoms of sleep disorders vary depending on the specific disorder. Below is an overview of the signs of some common sleep disorders.
- Delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS): Individuals with DSPS typically have difficulty falling asleep before 2 a.m. and feel tired when they wake up; they may continue feeling drowsy throughout the day.
- Insomnia: The main symptoms of insomnia are trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, and waking up early followed by a feeling of fatigue throughout the day. Daytime problems associated with insomnia include anxiety, irritability, fatigue, poor concentration, impaired memory, decreased motor coordination, impaired social interaction and motor vehicle accidents caused by tiredness.
- Narcolepsy: Narcoleptics tend to be excessively tired throughout the day, and can fall asleep at any time or in any place—including in the middle of conversations. These “sleep attacks” may last between a few minutes and a half hour. About 70 percent of narcolepsy patients also suffer from cataplexy, a sudden and temporary loss of muscle tone that causes slurred speech, drooling or muscle weakness for a few seconds or minutes; cataplexy can be triggered by excitement, fear, anger or other strong emotions. Some narcoleptics can experience hallucinations, sleepwalking or act out their dreams; they may also suffer from a temporary inability to move while falling asleep or waking up, a condition known as sleep paralysis.
- Night terrors: The intense nightmares usually occur two or three hours after an individual has fallen asleep, promoting him/her to scream, yell, sit up in bed, thrash around, sweat or breathe rapidly. Patients may inadvertently injure their bedmates while this is happening.
- REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD): Patients with RBD act out their dreams, which may include screaming, thrashing about, kicking, punching, sitting up in bed or getting out of bed during sleep. These patients can sometimes injure themselves or their bedmates.
- Sleep apnea: Common symptoms of sleep apnea include loud snoring, awaking quickly, difficulty staying asleep, awaking with a dry mouth or sore throat, and daytime drowsiness.